Amended plans for gasification plant in Corby approved by county council

There have been a number of protests about waste plants in the Corby area
There have been a number of protests about waste plants in the Corby area

Revised plans for a new gasification plant in Corby have been approved despite more than 80 objections.

Clean Power Properties Ltd already had planning permission to build an advanced conversion technology and anaerobic digestion facility in Shelton Road on the Willowbrook East industrial estate in Corby.

This comes down to common sense

Lee Forster

It then secured the go-ahead to amend the approved catchment area earlier this year and today (Tueday) it has been allowed to vary and delete some of the conditions included in the original scheme.

The key amendments to the consented scheme are the energy recovery centre remains an advanced conversion technology facility but the nature of the technology is being changed from pyrolysis to gasification, it will treat predominantly pre-prepared fuels that have already been subject to a treatment process off-site, the facility will not treat food waste and the anaerobic digestion element of the scheme is omitted.

To accommodate the revised technology, the scale of the proposed building has had to increase but the proposal should generate less heavy goods vehicle trips than the previous scheme.

The revised plans were drawn up to accommodate the needs of the operator, who was not confirmed at the time of the original application.

Those plans attracted a lot of opposition, and this latest stage also split opinion.

Corby Council raised concerns about the way in which the proposed changes have been assessed, and said it has contacted the Secretary of State asking for the application to be called in.

Gretton Parish Council objected to the plans for several reasons, including a potential increase in emissions and the effect on air quality, fire risk and the variation of the catchment area which it had previously objected to.

Concerns over waste being transported across county borders and additional lorries causing traffic issues and pollution were raised by Weldon Parish Council.

Ward councillor for Weldon and Gretton Rob McKellar spoke at today’s meeting of Northamptonshire County Council’s development control committee, which was considering the application.

He said he had been contacted by a large number of people who have ‘real’ concerns about the plans.

Cllr McKellar also read out a statement from MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove, which said he was strongly opposed to the application.

One objector who addressed councillors at the meeting said: “What’s lovely about Northamptonshire is it has woodland and has real treasures and that doesn’t always equate to money.

“It equates to being healthy and well and these are the things that are being jeopardised by the ill thought-out waste management plan.”

Another objector Lee Forster spoke and he said: “This comes down to common sense.

“More research needs to be done into the companies bringing this technology to our towns.”

And he added: “I am urging you to do the right thing today, throw out the application and let peace remain in the Shire.”

A representative speaking on behalf of the applicant said the plans would create 150 jobs during the construction stage and 34 full-time jobs when it is operational.

She said the proposed changes were to meet the requirements of the operator and that the change in technology meant an increase in the size of the facility.

As councillors discussed the application, there was praise for the people of Corby for making their views known, but it was also noted that there were no planning grounds on which to refuse it.

Following a vote, the committee went with the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application.

Committee chairman Ian Morris said it was a ‘tricky’ one but their hands were tied.

Following the meeting, Corby’s UKIP MEP Margot Parker said: “I joined the protest march in the spring and it was clear the depth of feeling against these plans was very, very strong.

“The people of Corby should be listened to.

“Residents, councillors, local authorities and politicians from different sides were in agreement - this plan is not wanted.

“Common sense should prevail and I am happy to help and support any inquiry if the Secretary of State calls in the plan.”